Ray Murski: 2005 Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]

[music] [laughing] He's known from Japan to Hickabo, Texas down there If you hunt and fish in Texas, you run across Ray Murski

And if you shoot Remington shotguns you run across him probably quicker, and you use Strike King Baits you probably run across him quicker than most people, but he's just a fixture in the industry He is the industry Ray Murski would give you the shirt off his back Now it wouldn't fit, but he'd give it to you anyway RAY MURSKI BEGAN HIS FISHING CAREER AS A YOUNG MAN CATCHING FRESHWATER DRUM TO SELL IN HIS FATHER'S GROCERY STORE IN BRENHAM, TEXAS

Back that day and time they were Gasper Goos And we would go to the Brazos River every Sunday after church and just literally fill two or three igloo ice chests full of fish And I mean it was just a way of life Of course he's Catholic and then the fish they didn't sell they would eat on Friday and he wound up hating fish as a result of that And he was in college apparently when the Pope said Catholics didn't have to eat fish on Friday's anymore and it was the happiest day of his life

BUT HE STILL LOVED TO FISH AND AFTER FINISHING COLLEGE WITH A BUSINESS DEGREE AND SERVING THREE YEARS IN THE ARMY, THE OPEN WATERS OF TEXAS AWAITED HIM I can remember my dad bringing home a Hawaiian Wiggler And I said 'Dad, you can't catch fish with an artificial bait' We caught maybe 20 bass between three and five pounds and I couldn't believe it

Anyway that's what really got me started thinking about bass fishing THAT THOUGHT CARRIED RAY THROUGH 40 BASS

TOURNAMENTS STARTING WITH THE FIRST ONE ON ARKANSAS' BEAVER LAKE IN 1967 The four of us, Dance, Blake and John and myself, we finished one, two, three and four in this tournament, and that was Ray Scott giving us the awards RAY FISHED PROFESSIONALLY FOR FIVE YEARS AND IN 1972 WAS LISTED 9TH ON THE BAS

S ALL-TIME MONEY WINNING LIST AT THE SAME TIME, HE WAS GETTING HIS FOOT IN THE DOOR SELLING LURES I owned an outdoor newspaper But what I learned a lot about the sporting goods business was when I was selling newspaper ads

But you really didn't have to know a lot about lures at the time because if it would catch fish, you could sell it to anybody A BUSINESS MAN FIRST, RAY LEARNED TO USE THE MEDIA TO PUSH HIS PRODUCT Maybe he wants to tell me something I wrote that he likes, maybe he wants to tell me something I wrote that he didn't like, maybe he wants to tell me about a product, but I know the energy level is fixing to go up when I hear 'Hey Buck,' on the other end of the line IN 1984, RAY BECAME THE OWNER OF THE BLISS-MURSKI REP GROUP OUT OF DALLAS AND TODAY HAS 100 SALES PEOPLE REPRESENTING MAJOR HUNTING AND FISHING TACKLE COMPANIES IN 30 STATES AND TERRITORIES BUT IN 1995, ANOTHER DOOR OPENED TO RAY, THE STRIKE KING LURE COMPANY

He's like, he's like 'Okay, where are we?' I said 'Man, he wants a lot of money for this thing' 'Dad, do it! We can do something with it' And we did We took the company and it was doing 10-11 million dollars in sales and today we're substantially above that WITH TWO SUCCESSFUL COMPANIES UNDER HIS BELT, RAY WANTED TO GIVE SOMETHING BACK TO THE FISHING INDUSTRY

TODAY HE SITS ON NO LESS THAN 16 ADVISORY BOARDS, FOUNDATIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS ALL DEDICATED TO CONSERVATION BUT IT'S THE KIDS WHO TUG AT HIS HEART I started hearing the companies that we represent and the customers that we sell to telling me that their, the average age of their customer was getting older And I started asking them 'What are you doing about it?' RAY OPENED UP HIS 18-HUNDRED ACRE RANCH TO YOUTH GROUPS, GIVING KIDS A CHANCE TO CATCH THEIR FIRST FISH OR TAKE THEIR FIRST DEER HE SPONSORED COUNTLESS YOUTH OUTINGS, AND IT'S REPORTED THAT MORE THAN 50,000 KIDS HAVE HAD AN OUTDOOR EXPERIENCE BECAUSE OF HIM

He could have took all that money and everything else he made and put it in his pocket and went off somewhere else But when he's spending that money to help somebody else learn to fish and get the handicapped and the underprivileged kids out fishing, that's one of the things I respect him for more than anything else You know everybody's got 24 hours, I don't care how much money you've got And Ray gives a whole lot of his 24 hours to hunting and fishing and kids in Texas He fishes and he hunts, he is very avid

And he wants everyone to have that opportunity and he's willing to put up to see that it happens ALWAYS COMPETITIVE, RAY HAS FISHED BASS TOURNAMENTS FOR 40 OUT OF HIS 65 YEARS

HE'S WON JUST ABOUT EVERY DIVISION FROM INDIVIDUAL, TO FATHER-DAUGHTER AND JUST RECENTLY HE AND HIS SON MIKE WON THE TEXAS TWO-MAN TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP He and I never did win the father son division and this is one I'm really proud of We caught 46 pounds of fish all on Strike King jigs and Strike King lizards One thing is for sure; it's always going to be a day of laughs with him He gives a lot of comic relief especially when things aren't going so well

What I really wanted to be was was a manufacturer's rep selling women's lingerie [laughing] And how I ended up with fishing tackle I'll never know BUT THERE'S ONE MORE CATEGORY RAY WANTS TO WIN Yep Yep

I got to win one with my husband and wife division I gotta go fish for that one IN APRIL 2005, RAY MURSKI MARRIED AMANDA SMITH AND PROMPTLY TOOK HER FISHING Ray was named one of the 25 bass fishing icons from Bass Master Magazine, and he never lets me forget it I'm always fishing with an icon

Come here icon I feel like I can do this for another 20-30 years [music]

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